By Jim Hague
The Lyndhurst American Legion Post 139 baseball team has a 10-3 record right now, but it’s a mark that doesn’t surprise head coach Mike Voza, even though the team is fi lled with newcomers to the roster.
“I don’t think I’m surprised with being 10-3,” said Voza, who began his second season as the head coach. “I’m surprised how we got to 10-3. We threw one game away to Clifton early on. We’ve had to play Bergenfi eld three times already. It’s been a good start and I’m happy where we are.”
Voza believes that his Post 139 squad is primed and ready for the postseason.
“We built this team to win a double-elimination tournament,” Voza said.
“We needed to get pitching and you can’t have enough pitching in those tournaments.”
With that in mind, the Lyndhurst squad is loaded with quality pitching.
“I couldn’t be happier with the pitching,” Voza said. “We need to hit a little better, but our pitching has been sensational.”
Post 139 posted three straight shutout victories last week, with Bryan Kelly and Anthony Ferriero combining for one three-hit 4-0 whitewash of Bergenfield Saturday.
“Kelly has been tremendous,” Voza said of the recent Rutherford High School graduate. “We want to be able to keep both pitchers fresh. Ferreiro is a workhorse. He would pitch every day if we gave him the chance. We’re fortunate to have a stable of pitchers, much like what you would find in the major leagues. We have at least 10 kids we can go to who can pitch.”
Kevin Rehbein, the former Lyndhurst High School standout headed to Rutgers- Newark in the fall, is another quality hurler. Rehbein fired a one-hitter last week against Kearny, striking out 15 in the process.
Elvis Soriano, a product of Wallington High, pitched a shutout as well against Bergenfield earlier in the week.
“At this level, to get three straight shutouts, is pretty remarkable,” Voza said. “It certainly makes things easier when you have that much quality pitching.”
Handling all that stellar pitching is catcher Danny Bielitz, a product of St. Mary’s High in Rutherford. Bielitz is not the biggest guy in the world, standing just 5-foot-6, but he’s done a great job defensively.
“He’s a tremendous (athlete). (He’s) received and blocks every pitch in the dirt.” Voza said. “He calls a great game and lately, he’s started to hit.”
First base duties are shared by Ferriero and Max Herrmann, the younger brother of Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Frank Herrmann. The younger Herrmann went to Montclair Kimberley Academy and resides in Rutherford.
Robert Miskura, another Rutherford product, is the team’s second baseman. He bats third in the lineup and has become the team’s main RBI producer. Miskura can also pitch as well.
Rehbein handles the shortstop duties when he’s not on the mound. Rehbein’s bat has begun to heat up in recent weeks.
Willie Krajnik, a Lyndhurst resident who attends St. Mary’s of Rutherford, is the third baseman. Krajnik is the team’s leadoff hitter.
Mike Rosamilia, another Rutherford High product, is the left fielder.
“Mike runs down everything in left field,” Voza said. “He covers a lot of ground.”
Felipe Flores, who enjoyed a breakthrough season at Harrison High in the spring, is the team’s centerfielder. Flores is also a quality pitcher.
“He’s been swinging the bat well for us,” Voza said. “It’s a nice luxury to have someone like Felipe who can play the outfield and pitch.”
Jimmy Fitzgerald, a recent graduate of Lyndhurst High, is the starting right fielder. Fitzgerald has caught fire recently, delivering five hits in his last nine at-bats with four runs scored.
The Post 139 unit has been getting solid play from utility players Walter Lazorczyk, who will return to St. Mary’s next fall, and Sean Byrne, a product of Harrison.
Voza likes the fact that he has three Harrison products in Ferriero, Flores and Byrne. All three of the former Blue Tide standouts can pitch and play the field, giving the Post 139 unit depth and versatility.
“All three have been great for us,” Voza said. “They’re there all the time. Byrne can play anywhere I need him. They’re good ballplayers who have all contributed.”
The team will improve when Anthony Dapuzzo returns to action. Dapuzzo missed a lot of time after having his tonsils taken out, but he’s set to come back later this week.
The Lyndhurst Post 139 squad currently sits in second place in the Bergen County American Legion league, trailing frontrunning Park Ridge. They are preparing for a berth in the upcoming league playoffs that begin July 18.
“We have a good chance,” Voza said. “I think we’re built to win that tournament. We’re playing well. All the kids are playing and contributing. We have a bunch of really good kids who are a pleasure to coach. It’s a good feeling all around.”
And all that should makefor an interesting rest of the summer f or the Lyndhurst Post 139 team.